Libyan election hints at blow to Islamists

3:47 PM, Jul 8, 2012   |    comments
Libyans hold up their ink-marked fingers as they celebrate after voting, Martyrs Square, Tripoli, Libya
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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - Western-leaning parties may be making strides over Islamist rivals in the vote count from Saturday's parliamentary election in Libya.

Final results could still be days away under a two-tier selection system. But unofficial and partial counts from Libya's biggest cities indicate that liberal factions are leading the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. It could be the first major setback to their political surge after last year's uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

If the trend holds, it could be a sign of the different political dynamic in Libya -- where tribal loyalties run deep, and where groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood cooperated at times with the rule of Moammar Gadhafi.

Ultimately, the 200-seat parliament will face the task of forming a government. And that could bring tests of strength for Islamists and secular forces, over questions such as women's rights, the extent of traditional Islamic law and relations with Western countries that helped bring down Gadhafi.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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